Amid what the World Health Organization calls a "grave threat" to the world, China is being accused of censoring journalists and activists talking about the coronavirus outbreak.

And, according to the scientists with the Lancet Medical Journal, Chinese authorities had preliminary information about the virus more than two weeks before that information was officially released to the public, CBS News reported.

"We're finding things out in bits and pieces," Keith Richburg, director of the University of Hong Kong Journalism & Media Studies Centre, said in a CBS interview. "They were not transparent at all, I would say, during the month of December. As we know, there was a doctor trying to raise the alarm."

That doctor was Li Wenliang. He tried to warn others of the new virus in December but was reprimanded by police in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. He later contracted coronavirus and died in early February.

According to CBS News, two citizen journalists documenting the outbreak, overwhelmed hospitals and a shortage of resources and doctors in China have been arrested or just disappeared.

Non-profit organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders said more than 350 citizens have been detained for talking about the viral outbreak online. 

"Free flow of information in the press and on the internet, participation of civil society and facilitated movement of supplies and first responders, are necessary for an effective response to this global health emergency," the organization said last month.

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As of Feb. 14, the National Health Commission said nearly 1,400 people have died from the coronavirus in China. And, there were 5,090 new confirmed cases.

The number of reported cases has been rising more quickly after the hardest-hit province in China changed the way it is counting them. There are now 63,851 cases in mainland China.

On Feb. 13, the United States confirmed a 15th coronavirus case. An evacuee from China at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas was confirmed to have the virus.

Outside of Hong Kong and mainland China, 26 other countries have reported cases of coronavirus.

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